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Friday, April 19, 2013

I love my library because...

It is National Library Week (April 14-20, 2013.) The Idaho Falls Public Library has been celebrating all month with contests, prizes and activities. They are holding an essay contest on 'why I love my library.' My children are sitting at the table busily writing their essays in hopes of winning a $25 gift certificate.

All of this is causing me to reflect on why I love the library.

Since moving to Idaho Falls we have been very involved in the library community. Oran, Skyler and I attended a children's class for "early readers." It was a six week class that we attended on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We heard stories, did art projects and got to bring home (and keep) books, CDs, and games that went along with things we had talked about in the class.

We've attended "parties" and "activities" as well as story time and free community classes.

Ryan and I had the privilege of completing the "Love and Logic" parenting classes at the library. We attended weekly classes for 6 weeks and really enjoyed the teachers as well as the things we were able to learn.

I feel that libraries are an essential public good. People need a place to go where they can learn, grow, develop new skills and have new experiences. It seems like prices of everything continues to climb. Admission to museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos and theaters are sky rocketing. For a family of 7, like mine, the thought of buying so many tickets to an event or exhibit is painful.

Public libraries are free, non-commercial, gathering places that are open to everyone, regardless of income. People of all ages can gather together to use computers, read books, and attend classes. The library is where education continues after school ends. It's where readers are grown from the time they are young and where doors are open to welcome everyone.
If knowledge is power, than the library is a substation, buzzing with electricity, with the books just sitting on the shelves waiting to light up our minds.

I have been able to read countless books over the past year and a half. I love the ability I have to search the library catalog from the comfort of my own home and request books that I would like to read. It is so nice to see the books I have requested with my name on them, patiently waiting to be picked up.

Books are an expensive commodity, and if I had not been able to borrow books from the library, free of charge, there is no way that I could have fed my love for the written word over the course of my lifetime. 

We have read several books together as a family. I love instilling in my children a love for books and feel a little thrill whenever they would rather read another chapter in our current story than watch a movie. Every story opens a window into a new world. We have enjoyed visiting all of these strange new places contained in the pages of  the books found on the shelves at our local library.
We also have a love for the ever expanding DVD collection at the Idaho Falls public library. We can check out up to 10 movies a week, and if we bring them back on time, it is completely free of charge. That's way better than Redbox or Netfix!

Another reason I love the DVDs, although it's a bit of a love/hate relationship, is that they can only be checked out for a week and cannot be renewed from home (like other library materials.) This fact alone keeps us returning to the library at least once a week.

I love being on a first name basis with so many of the librarians. Yesterday "Miss Kim" greeted my children by name. It brought warmth to my heart knowing that my children felt important and welcomed at the library. Jamayla, another librarian, knows to expect us on Thursday afternoons and often sets aside a few books that she thinks my boys would enjoy.

Although Idaho Falls is not necessarily a small town, being involved at the library, for me, has given it more of a "small town" feel. Because of the library I feel involved in and connected to my community, and I love it!

Friday, April 12, 2013

What is There to Like?

I am participating in a health and fitness challenge hosted by my friend Evelyn. It's almost the end of week 2. One of the challenges this week was to write a letter to yourself. I've been putting it off, but as the week is drawing to a close I'm thinking that I'd better get started. Don't worry, I won't write it here, but I've been trying to work through some thoughts before I get started.

This is the challenge:
Write a letter to yourself. (Include 5 things that you love about yourself, physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. Identify NO MORE than 3 things you would like to change about yourself or your current life. This isn't about tearing yourself apart. This is an attempt to get in touch with YOU and to help you be aware of the good, the bad, and the soon to be good.)
As I wrote in an earlier post, I'm having a hard time thinking of things to like about myself lately. Which is really rather sad. I think that everyone should like themselves. This isn't about being humble, no one is going to read my letter but me. So why can't I come up with anything!?

I used to LOVE myself, no really. I don't mean to sound conceited, or self centered, but I was a hoot! I loved being me and I think that people genuinely enjoyed being around me, 'cause I was FUN!

I've been wondering what changed, and what caused the change. Since becoming a wife and mother I've had a bit of an identity-crisis. I am constantly trying to find my place and figure out just what my roles are.I know that now I am grown up and I have responsibilities. It is my job to raise and teach my children and I can't always be the light-hearted free spirit that I wish I was. But I still want to have fun!

I am more that just "Ryan's wife" or "______'s Mom" (Insert any one of my kids' names here.) I am still me, I am CARANNA - so what does that mean!?

Today marks the ten year anniversary of the day that my husband proposed to me. I have grown and changed a lot since that day 10 years ago. I have learned many lessons, some of those lessons were a lot harder than others, but would I really go back now? Having gained so much was it really at the cost of my former self?

When I was younger I was quick witted and funny. I found it easy to make jokes and make others laugh. I felt that I had a lot of talents, and I enjoyed sharing those with others. I enjoyed singing, acting and dancing. I was a pretty decent artist and often the life of the party. I had a strong belief in my faith, a strong testimony and a powerful conviction about what I believed. I was not ashamed of those beliefs and often shared them with others. I was a member of the seminary council in my senior year of high school and thoroughly enjoyed that. Plus, I got to be a member of the relief society presidency my very first semester of college.

I think one of my main problems is that I'm just too exhausted to care any more. I'm too tired to feel much conviction about anything. Everyday is more just a struggle to survive. I figure I'm doing good if I make it from breakfast to bed time each day.

Perhaps I just need to find my passion, and maybe remembering how "cool" I used to be is the key to unlocking that in my current situation.

The year after I got married we attended a family reunion, I had a 2 month old baby at the time. They were trying to get enough family members together for a "talent show" to fill one of the evenings, but there weren't many volunteers. One of my cousins approached me to ask if I would lead the group in singing silly camp songs. My Aunt, who lived in the same town as me, and had thus spent a lot of time with me in the year since my marriage, answered for me before I had a chance. Shaking her head and saying, "Oh she's no fun any more. She got all old and boring!"

I know that the comment was made in jest, and I love my Auntie, but it still stung. I too felt that I had become "old and boring" and I've never quite recovered. As I've gone from one child to five I think I've just got older and boring-er. I'm not sure how to fix it, but I want to!

Here's a picture of Ryan and I at my parent's house when we were engaged, before I was so "old and boring." We were making breakfast. (Digital cameras have come a long way in the last 10 years.)